Booking Without Regret – Cancelling Holidays in Times of Coronavirus

    Whether you are thinking of this summer or looking towards next winter – anyone planning a holiday at the moment will of course ask themselves: What happens if the coronavirus situation prevents me from travelling, there are new border closures or I fall ill before departure? Here is everything you need to know about cancellation conditions in order to book with peace of mind.

    Those currently planning a holiday in Austria will of course take the coronavirus into consideration. We know from surveys that cancellation conditions are one of our guests’ top priorities. No one wants to be left to pay for a holiday that was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

    Plenty of Accommodating Cancellation Conditions

    The good news is that many establishments are offering their guests very accommodating cancellation conditions given the current situation. There are no nationwide regulations and each establishment determines its own terms, but free cancellation – often up until a few days prior to arrival – is not uncommon. Ask your hosts for the exact conditions.

    Free Cancellation Cover in Vorarlberg and Burgenland

    Anyone who books to stay in Burgenland up until 31 October 2021 inclusive benefits automatically and without additional paperwork from a free cancellation cover. Should a coronavirus infection or mandatory quarantine prevent you from travelling or if you have to curtail your trip for these reasons then you will receive a refund. Find further information on the free cancellation cover for Burgenland holidays here.

    In Vorarlberg the free cancellation cover also applies to all stays up until 31 October 2021. As in Burgenland, compensation is offered in the case of a coronavirus infection or quarantine. It is capped at € 3,000 per guest. Find further information on the free cancellation cover for Vorarlberg holidays

    COVID19 safety measures at the hotel check-in in Austria's ski resorts

    This cover is valid regardless of when the holiday was booked. Please check the exact conditions on the respective websites as cover does not include all imaginable scenarios. Should an accommodation establishment have to close due to coronavirus, for example, then you are not covered. In this instance, however, there are government regulations that protect you.

    Statutory Cancellation Conditions

    Before we continue, we would like to point out that we are not legal experts and cannot offer legal advice. But we have spoken to legal professionals and can give you the following overview using the information they have provided:

    Should your booked accommodation be closed due to a general lockdown or coronavirus then you can cancel free of charge. You are generally also exempt from payment if your trip has to be cancelled due to force majeure such as entry and exit restrictions, border closures etc., even if your hotel is open. Legislation refers to these as extraordinary circumstances which mean the object of agreement cannot be made use of.

    COVID19 safety measures at the hotel check-in in Austria's ski resorts

    Cancellation Option for Travel Warnings

    A further frequent question: Can I cancel free of charge if my country of residence issues a travel warning for my Austrian holiday destination? This depends on whether you have booked a package holiday or individually.

    Package travel regulations generally offer free cancellation if unavoidable extraordinary circumstances occur at your holiday destination or within its immediate surroundings. This includes the outbreak of a serious disease such as COVID-19. An exception would be if you booked your holiday in the knowledge of the travel warning. There are cases in which the Austrian Supreme Court stipulates entitlement to free cancellation is given without an explicit travel warning. This is because the traveller may seek guidance from information programmes across radio and TV as well as reputable newspapers on whether it is reasonable to expect the individual to travel.

    COVID19 safety measures at the hotel check-in in Austria's ski resorts

    This all only applies to imminent trips. If travel is planned for the coming weeks or months then you have to wait and see whether you will be able to cancel free of charge as circumstances can change.

    There is no official cancellation right when it comes to individual bookings. This will depend on whether your accommodation establishment is open for business and whether you can actually travel or be expected to travel.

    A Coronavirus Infection Is Not a Reason for Cancellation

    It’s important to be aware that if you cannot travel due to coronavirus infection then this is your own risk and the accommodation establishment can apply a cancellation charge or demand full payment. The same rules apply for coronavirus as for any other illness. To ensure you are covered, please check the individual accommodation establishment’s cancellation conditions as mentioned above. Many providers offer complimentary or additional COVID insurance. And should you take out your own travel insurance, make sure that coronavirus infection is covered, as a large number of “standard” travel insurances exclude pandemics.

    COVID19 safety measures at the hotel check-in in Austria's ski resorts

    Frequently Asked Questions

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